1. On that day they read in the book of Moses in the ears of the people. And in it was found written that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God forever,
2. Because they did not meet the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them so that he should curse them. But our God turnedthe curse into a blessing.
3. Now it came to pass when they had heard the law, they separated all the mixed multitude from Israel.
4. And before this, Eliashib the priest, who was set over the storerooms of the house of our God, was allied with Tobiah.
5. And he had prepared for himself a large room where they formerly laid the grain offering, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, which were commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the gatekeepers, and the offerings of the priests.
6. But in all this time I was not at Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon, I came to the king. And after some days I asked permission to leave the king.
7. And I came to Jerusalem and understood the evil which Eliashib did for Tobiah in preparing him a room in the courts of the house of God.
8. And it grieved me very much. And I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room.
9. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the rooms. And there I brought again the vessels of the house of God with the grain offering and the frankincense.
10. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them; for the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had gone back, each one to his field.
11. And I contended with the rulers and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their place.
12. And all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil into the treasuries.
13. And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah. And next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute to their brethren.
14. Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds which I have done for the house of my God and for the offices of it.
15. In those days I saw in Judah some treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sacks of grain, and loading donkeys and also wine, grapes, and figs, and all kinds of burdens which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I admonished them on the day in which they sold food.
16. And men of Tyre dwelt therein, who brought fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah and in Jerusalem.
17. And I contended with the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do and defile the Sabbath day?
18. Did not your fathers do this, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us and upon this city? Yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by defiling the Sabbath.”
19. And it came to pass when the evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut and that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I set some of my servants at the gates, so that there should be no burden brought in on the Sabbath day.
20. And the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods stayed the night outside Jerusalem once or twice.
21. And I warned them and said to them, “Why do you stay around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come any more on the Sabbath.
22. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy.
23. In those days I also saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and from Moab.
24. And their children spoke half Ashdod’s language and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people.
25. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and struck certain of them, and plucked off their hair. And I made them swear by the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters to your sons, or for yourselves.
26. Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Yet even him did foreign women cause to sin.
27. Shall we then hearken to you, to do all this great evil, to sin against our God in marrying foreign women?”
28. And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was sonin- law to Sanballat the Horonite; and I chased him from me.
29. Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.
30. So I cleansed them from everything foreign, and appointed duties for the priests and the Levites, every one in his task,
31. And for the wood offering, at chosen times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good!
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